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Federal grant to assist hundreds of homeless veterans in north Louisiana

Kate Archer Kent

Volunteers of America North Louisiana will be able to help hundreds more homeless veterans in the area through a federal grant that will increase this fiscal year by more than $100,000. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs grant is through the Supportive Services for Veterans Families program. It can be used in a variety of ways to secure housing for veterans, according to Gary Jaynes, director of veterans services for Volunteers of America North Louisiana.

“For a lot of people, even if they have an income, it’s hard to come up with a security deposit. That seems to be the No. 1 request, and then first month’s rent sometimes, and a lot of times utility deposits," Jaynes said.

While the number of homeless veterans is declining in Louisiana, the state still has nearly 10,000 veterans who are on the streets or in shelters. This grant will especially impact female veterans, Jaynes said, who often go undetected by outreach services and have a different set of needs than their male counterparts. He said the grant will help them get into their own home, and it can sometimes be used for child care costs.

“This tool is super flexible. When you have the resources, and for lack of a better word -- money -- where you get to use it where it’s needed, and use it quickly, that’s the important piece about this program," Jaynes said.

Jaynes has exhausted the homeless prevention dollars from the current grant cycle. The new $436,000 grant will be awarded Oct. 1.